Intact Eggshell Found in Ritual Deposit in Turkey

(©Archaeological Exploration of Sardis / Harvard University)
Archaeological Institute of America
News Source: 
Art History

CHICAGO, ILLINOIS—Two pots, each containing small bronze tools, a pierced eggshell (one of which was intact), and a coin, have been uncovered on top of the remains of an elite building at Sardis thought to have been destroyed by an earthquake in A.D. 17. A new building had been constructed over the rubble and the deposits. Elizabeth Raubolt of the University of Missouri, Columbia, thinks that the assemblages may have been intended to protect the new building from future disasters. The Roman historian Pliny recorded how people would break or pierce eggshells after eating in order to ward off evil spells. In contrast, intact eggs could be buried at someone’s gate in order to put a curse on them, Raubolt explained at the annual meeting of the Archaeological Institute of America. “You can imagine how nice it smelled after a while,” she added. The two coins date to between A.D. 54 and 68, long after the time the earthquake is thought to have occurred.

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